@lauragrace73 and I were in a Bible study last night, where we were discussing Deuteronomy 5 with a larger group. In that passage, Moses recalls going up Mt. Sinai to receive the Law, and he emphasises how ‘the LORD spoke to them face-to-face out of the fire on the mountain’. It was then very keenly brought up that, if you read that account in Exodus 19, that it sounds awfully like these people are standing near an active volcano…which would, presumably, be something they’d never seen before. Therefore, how do we know that this wasn’t just a story of an ancient people coming to grips with something outside of their frame of reference?
So fascinating! Sadly, it was nearer to the end of our time, so we didn’t get to get into it in depth, but I did a little google search this morning and found this interesting piece…
I appreciated Glen Fritz’s (the author’s) noting of…
The volcanic theories reviewed above all seem to ignore the potentially noxious environments associated with active volcanoes…The tephra fallout from volcanic plumes is very hazardous, easily deadly to man, animals, and vegetation.
A review of the biblical human interaction with Mount Sinai is needed to highlight the potential problem. Of note is the protracted human activity within the mountain and the fact that Moses spent more than 80 days in its heights…Moses made about five trips up the mountain. On one excursion, he was accompanied by over seventy people, who experienced benign conditions under which they could tarry, and eat and drink.
There was also this piece from 2003, introducing people to the work of a Cambridge physicist named Colin Humphreys. Has anyone read him?
I’m curious about people’s thoughts! How do we bring together appearances (that is, seemingly ‘naturalistic’ explanations) with the stories of our faith?